Common  Questions

2024 Fire and Other FAQs

What are the entities involved in Second Avenue Commons (2AC)?

  • Second Avenue Commons Inc is a non-profit that was established 4 years ago. The board is comprised of 10 people who represent the organizations and funders who were engaged in the design and development of the project.
  • Second Avenue Commons contracts with ACTION-Housing for asset management services. ACTION-Housing worked to secure the property insurance and its Risk and Safety Manager is assisting on the restoration process.
  • Second Avenue Commons contracts with NDC Asset Management for building management services including general operations of the building and the Single Room Occupancy units.
  • Second Avenue Commons has entered into leases with two tenants — Pittsburgh Mercy and UPMC — to operate programs that serve the residents of the building and other community residents. 2AC does not have a role in the operations of these programs. Pittsburgh Mercy operates the shelter and services including a day program/engagement center, food program, emergency shelter, and overflow shelter. Mercy contracts with Community Kitchen Pittsburgh for the food. UPMC operates the medical clinic and works with multiple other organizations that utilize its space, including Highmark, to provide a range of services.

Can you more fully describe the role of NDC Asset Management as the Property Manager?

  • NDC Asset Management acts on behalf of the owner regarding building operations including accounting, management and maintenance staffing, leasing and rent collection, regulatory compliance, vendor relations, and tenant relations. Since the fire, NDC Asset Management is overseeing the re-housing efforts related to the SRO Tenants into new short-term or permanent housing within other local housing communities.

What is the responsibility of the building owner?

  • The building owner must maintain the building for the use by all the tenants. Now that the fire has occurred, the building owner is working to repair and restore the building to its intended use in the quickest period possible.

What is the responsibility of the Single Room Occupancy (SRO) tenants?

  • Single Room Occupancy Tenants are responsible for maintaining communication with NDC Asset Management until new housing has been secured for them. They are strongly encouraged to submit a change of address request with USPS while also keeping management informed of new phone, email, and/or case manager contact information, if applicable.

How many SRO tenants were impacted by the fire?

  • At the time of the fire, there were 26 Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Residents who had lease agreements at Second Ave Commons.

Were SRO tenants given the opportunity to remove their belongings? 

  • Yes, multiple attempts were made to contact each resident directly, through their case managers, at the temporary shelter, and via street outreach.  On June 11 and 12, 2024, those residents that wished to retrieve their belongings were permitted access to the building to do so. 

How can a tenant reach NDC if they haven’t yet?

  • By calling Jennifer McKnight, Property Manager, at 412-647-7406 or emailing

Where is tenant mail going while 2AC is closed?

  • All Tenants of 2AC are strongly encouraged to submit a change of address request with USPS. Mail is currently being held at the Post Office at 395 Federal St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

What was the cause of the fire?

  • Multiple investigators have surveyed the site and were unable to positively determine the exact cause of the fire. In response to these findings, we are reviewing the building’s systems and 2AC‘s resident policies to ensure that the building remains safe for everyone to use after the renovations are completed. The building’s emergency response systems worked well on the day of the fire and everyone made it out safely.

**Please note that as additional questions are posed, this will be updated and reposted on the 2AC website.
**To pose questions, please email

View Our Other Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where is the commons located?

A: The Commons is located at 700 Second Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

Q: Who is the shelter designer for?

A: The Commons serves anyone over the age of 18 in need of shelter. Partners may stay together, dogs and cats are welcome, and possessions may be stored in the facility’s secure storage units.

Q: Who is the shelter NOT designed for?

A: The Commons is not suitable for families. Households with children are better served at other shelters. Call us or come in and we can connect families to more appropriate services.

Q: What services does The Commons offer? 

A: We offer 24/7 everyday access to our shelter, Engagement Center, UPMC clinic, and private, permanent housing. There are diversion services, housing-focused case management, collaboration with DHS’ Coordinated Entry System, and meal services. Wi-fi, laundry and other amenities are available here.

Q: How many beds are offered at The Commons?

A: We offer 95 beds, with space to add 40 additional beds during cold weather months. 

Q:What is the UPMC Clinic?

A: The UPMC Health Center is staffed by UPMC with physical and behavioral health services.

Q: What are the single occupancy rooms? 

A: We have 43 units, which are a type of permanent housing for those who request it. These units offer small, private, furnished rooms along with shared bathroom.

Q: What is the Engagement Center?

A: The Engagement Center is where people can sit down and rest, with showers, laundry facilities, charging stations, coffee, computers, and Wi-Fi.

Q: When can I use the facilities?

A: The Shelter is 24/7. Clinic and Engagement Center are open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm.

Q: Is the Commons ever closed?

A: The facility is open to Shelter and SRO residents 24/7 every day of the year.

Q: Can my partner come with me to the Commons? 

A: Couples are always welcome to stay together in the bed or private room that is best for them, provided it is available.

Q: Can I bring my pet?

A: Dog and cats are welcome to stay with their owners. View our Pet Policy.

Second Avenue Commons is closed due to a fire.

View our FAQs here. Should you need assistance please call one of the following organizations:

Engagement Center Services: Effective July 15, Pittsburgh Mercy has opened Engagement Center services at its Wellspring Drop-In Center, 902 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (Uptown). Services are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are not needed. (412)513-9802

Emergency Shelter guests (third floor guests): Call the Pittsburgh Mercy Emergency Response Line: (412)240-7000.

For SRO residents (fourth and fifth floors): Call NDC Asset Management: (412)647-7406.

UPMC Clinic emergency number: (412)491-0555

Monetary donations to Pittsburgh Mercy:

In-kind donations and volunteers to Pittsburgh Mercy: or Brendan Copp at

Get in Touch!

For assistance, donations, partnerships, and all other inquiries, please get in touch! All inquiries should be sent to the following email or phone number: 


700 Second Avenue Pittsburgh PA 15219


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